To say that today’s WWDC keynote was merely “game-changing” doesn’t cover the full scope of what we just witnessed. I haven’t seen a company on a roll like this in a long time. How Apple has managed to not only revolutionize the computer, smartphone, and tablet industry but to single-handedly keep “one-upping” themselves is amazing. Not only have they defined where the bar for smartphones and tablets are, they’ve outdone themselves yet again. Three major product announcements were made today by Apple: OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud. While this blog won’t focus on the particulars of Lion (other than their phenomenal $29.99 price tag!) we will cover the two biggest changes to mobile in awhile. First up: iOS 5. Hit the link at the break to read what’s new in Apple’s latest and greatest iteration yet.
Many of you are not fans of my long-format, editorial posts, but get over it because I have plenty to say today. Ten new features were introduced in iOS 5 today. While some of them may not be as captivating as others (I’m looking at you Newsstand) a few features are extremely intriguing and completely overhaul iOS (and I mean that in a good way).
1.) Notification Center/New Lock Screen
First item on the agenda I want to mention is the re-vamped notification system!
If you listen to the podcast or read the blog then you know Chris and I (and Tyler) have been begging for this for a long time. The jail-breaking community will tell you that these features have been available for a long time, but not all of us want to jailbreak our phones. Doing a full restore every 3 months just isn’t my cup of tea.
iOS 5 is introducing Notification Center to extremely hungry users everywhere! What’s the one complaint about an iPhone? Literally the only thing people can gripe about these days? The intrusive pop-up style notifications that disrupt apps, browsing, mail, and anything else that may need your attention (well that and the death grip that will drop your calls anywhere. Guaranteed!). Watching a streaming video on your iPhone and your girlfriend/boyfriend texts you? Hope you weren’t to attached to the video because you will more than likely lose your stream once you reply to said text message. Have you ever played Infinity Blade and ESPN ScoreCenter pops up a notification that the Mavs just barely lost to the Heat (I didn’t I was dying inside screaming at my TV) and instead of hitting close you hit view? Hope you weren’t half-way through killing the God King because all of your progress is now lost once the ESPN app opens up.
This change will bring Android-like notifications to iOS and they look great. Now instead of having a text pop up and interrupt what you’re doing, iOS will have a pop down notification that can be swiped away or left alone. No more intrusiveness, no more interruption, just simplicity at its best.
In addition, users will also now have a new lock screen in iOS 5.
Now you can open right into a text message, Facebook notification, missed call, or any other app that notifies you. A nice feature to have considering that the jail-breaking community can do this now! If only Apple could work in a way to reply from the lock screen without unlocking the phone….
2.) Wireless Syncing… FINALLY!
Why? Why has this feature taken five years to integrate? Even Microsoft understood this and allowed Windows Phone 7 to sync wirelessly with their PC. How iOS has managed to work around this for five years and catch no heat is beyond me, but finally Apple is allowing its iOS devices to truly be “post-PC” devices. When you get your new iPhone or iPad you now just have to activate it right over the air! No more cords to fiddle with, no more, “I really want this album on my phone, but don’t feel like connecting it to my PC.” Users can buy an iPhone or an iPad and have it replace their laptops entirely (because now they no longer need a PC to sync).
Along with this comes OTA (over the air) updates that Android and Windows Phone have been doing all along. Although the initial iOS 5 file may be 600-700 MB, Delta updates can now be downloaded and installed OTA as well. So while yes, initially iOS 5 is large, every update afterward will only be around 30-40 MB tops.
3.) iMessage: Or how Apple finally destroyed RIM completely
How has RIM kept its market share this long without any innovation or new features to really get excited about? Oddly enough, the one thing that keeps a lot of people away from an iPhone is BBM (BlackBerry Messenger). BBM is basically a chat client that works BlackBerry to BlackBerry and is a supplement for texting. Yes, believe it or not many people still cling to their BlackBerry’s because of this feature (see: Stern, Joanna). This changes everything completely for Apple.
Cue iMessage, Apple’s version of BBM; only this makes more since and works cross-platform unlike BBM. iMessage is not just for iPhone users, it’s for iOS users. Chris and Hysen have iPhones; I have a Windows Phone 7. If they want to iMessage me I’m out of luck right? Wrong! I have an iPad, ergo, I have iMessage! I honestly think this is Apple driving the final nail in RIM’s coffin. Not only do you have full compatibility between iOS devices, you now have the final niche market you needed to convince people to purchase your vastly superior phone.
A bold claim, I know, but someone prove me wrong. I’m not saying RIM will go bankrupt, but they may just become a software company and be bought out by another company (see: HP, Palm). Maybe the shareholders will flip and hire someone who will make a Stephen Elop-esqe “burning platform” memo about innovation. Whatever the case may be, Apple now has its foot on the competitions throat, and doesn’t look to let up any time soon.
While many of these iOS features have been available to the jailbreaking community for years, it’s a great step in the right direction for this OS. For those of you who know me, this pains me to write so positively about Apple, but I’m going to be honest… I haven’t seen this type of innovation that excites me from a company in a long time (I’m looking at you Microsoft!) To use an expression that I absolutely hate that sums up what we are seeing from them:
It’s Apple’s world… We’re all just living in it.